Modulation of cytokine production by transforming growth factor-beta.
Chantry D., Turner M., Abney E., Feldmann M.
Transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) is one of a family of polypeptides involved in the regulation of cell growth and differentiation. The effects of human rTGF-beta 1 on the production of IL-1 and TNF by activated PBMC were studied. The addition of TGF-beta 1 alone caused an increase in the levels of mRNA for IL-1 alpha, IL-1 beta, and TGF-alpha. This was due to increased transcription rather than enhanced mRNA stability. The induced mRNA were of the appropriate size as assessed by Northern blotting. However, the mRNA did not appear to be translated into protein, inasmuch as the translation products of IL-1 beta and TNF-alpha were not detected by RIA or ELISA. Furthermore, in experiments utilizing a neutralizing antibody to TGF-beta 1, we were unable to unmask IL-1 biologic activities and unable to detect TNF biologic activity in the WEHI 164 cytotoxicity assay. TGF-beta inhibited in a dose-dependent manner the induction of IL-1 beta by LPS or TNF but not by PHA and PMA. Similarly, LPS induction of TNF-alpha was blocked by TGF-beta, whereas induction of PMA and PHA was completely resistant. TGF-beta 1 did not increase PGE2 secretion or cause elevated intracellular cAMP; thus, the inhibitory effects of TGF-beta 1 seem not to be mediated by PGE2 or cAMP, which have both been implicated in post-transcriptional control of cytokine gene expression. These findings suggest a dual role for TGF-beta 1 in the regulation of cytokine production at both transcriptional and translational levels.